Articles: The Buzz on 2003's Fall Hopefuls
   
 



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by
Laurence Washington

With the cold weather fast approaching, the Fall movies look to be as cool as the Summer flicks were hot. So here we go: Director Ridley Scott will not be happy until he gives someone a heart attack. As a result he’s has recut his horror classic Alien, Denzel Washington becomes a prime suspect, Halle Berry goes crazy, Eddie Murphy deals in ghost, Mekhi Phifer enters the world of high power dancing, and Cuba Gooding Jr. finds a mentor.

ALIEN: The Dirctor’s Cut
Bottom Line: A space salvage crew is stalked by a malevolent alien creature they mistakenly bring aboard their ship.

Most Valuable Players: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Yaphet Kotto

Selling Points: Director Ridley Scott’s haunted house in space corker returns with additional footage i.e. chest busters, face huggers, you know the drill. The big screen is the only way to experience this film. Sure it’s been on TV for years, but who’s afraid of a 12 inch alien?

Who Stands to Lose: Ridley Scott. Maybe he should leave well enough alone. (Oct. 31)


THE CAT IN THE HAT
Bottom Line: Dr. Seuss’ beloved childern’s classic is re-created for the big screen.

Most Valuable Players: Mike Myers, Spencer Breslin, Dakota Fanning

Selling Points: Mike Myers as the Cat In The Hat, who else can we trust to pull it off?

Who Stands to Lose: Having said that, Mike Myers. We’re entrusting him with a charcter we all grew up with. He better be good or else. (Nov. 21)


GOTHIKA
Bottom Line: A criminal psychologist (Halle Berry) suddenly finds herself a patient in her own institution.

Most Valuable Players: Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz, Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton

Selling Points: Gothika is a character-driven story like Monster’s Ball. Halle Berry has another chance to show off her acting chops.

Who Stands to Lose: Berry. Since Swordfish, Berry has been on a role, even getting a Oscar along the way. But playing a delusional shrink might not work. (Nov. 21)


THE HAUNTED MANSION
Bottom Line: A newsman encounters a ghost while visiting a haunted house to do a story.

Most Valuable Players: Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Don Knotts

Selling Points: Coming off the successful Daddy Day Care, it seems Eddie Murphy has found his funnybone again. The addition of the orginial "Mr. Chicken" (Don Knotts) is a definite plus.

Who Stands to Lose: Disney. They’re betting that their theme park ride will make a great movie. (Nov. 26)


HONEY
Bottom Line: A sexy inner city dancer rises to become a successful music video choreographer.

Most Valuable Players: Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Joy Bryant, L’il Romeo

Selling Points: Sexy romantic drama with a lot of dancing and slammin’ hip hop score.

Who Stands to Lose: The studio. Don’t be surprised if the music and choreography up stages the movie. (Dec. 5)


KILL BILL Vol. 1
Bottom Line: An assassin called the Bride, who was once part of an elite female assassin team, is shot in the head on her wedding day. She awakes five years later seeking revenge.

Most Valuable Players: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox

Selling Points: Director Quentin Tarantino knows his way around an off-beat action-flick. Plus the all female assassin team is easy on the eyes.

Who Stands to Lose: Tarantino. With Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and Reservior Dogs under his belt, the audience expects great things. (Oct. 10)


THE LAST SAMURAI
Bottom Line: A alcoholic Civil War veteran rediscovers his code of honor as a samurai warrior.

Most Valuable Players: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe

Selling Points: Great premise if it’s not too heavy handed on speeches. Trailer looks great!

Who Stands to Lose: The Studio. Warner Bros. is hoping Cruise will knock off the Christmas competition. (Dec. 5)


LORD OF THE RINGS: Return of The King
Bottom Line: The third and final chapter of the trilogy as Frodo comes to the end of his journey.

Most Valuable Players: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

Selling Points: The buzz is Kings starts off slow like the first film and ends with a bang.

Who Stands to Lose: No one. This one’s a slam dunk. (Dec. 17)


OUT OF TIME
Bottom Line: A small town police chief "borrows" money from the evidence room to run away with a woman.

Most Valuable Players: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanna Lathan

Selling Points: Denzel Washington. Here’s where Washington takes on his "A" game, starring in a romantic thriller.

Who Stands to Lose: Nobody. Any drama starring Washington is box office gold. (Oct. 3)


RADIO
Bottom Line: A successful high school coach befriends and mentors a mentally-challenged man.

Most Valuable Players: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, S. Epatha Merkerson

Selling Points: After a string of lame comedic roles, Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. finally has a chance to act again.

Who Stands to Lose: The Studio and Cuba. If Radio flops, look for Snow Dogs 2&3. (Oct. 24)


SCARY MOVIE 3
Bottom Line: Parody of pop culture slasher flicks.

Most Valuable Players: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Anthony Anderson

Selling Points: Presold audience.

Who Stands to Lose: The studio. "Danger Will Robinson!" The Wayans brothers have washed their hands of the series. (Oct. 24)

Best of The Rest
by
Tara Casanova

OCTOBER
Jack Black plays a fired rock guitarist who becomes a prep school teacher in The School of Rock. Nerdy John Livingston falls in love with a computer-generated girl in Dopamine. Matthew Broderick discovers the scary secret as to why dogs are man’s best friend in Good Boy! Jurgen Prochnow attends the mother of all raves in the thriller House of the Dead. George Clooney is a slick divorce lawyer who falls in love with a client in the comedy Intolerable Cruelty. John Cusack is the foreman on a jury who is hearing a landmark case in Runaway Jury. Ole Leatherface is slicing and dicing again in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Reporter Cate Blanchett investigates the city’s drug underworld in Veronica Guerin. Angelina Jolie is a sheltered American living in London who meets a renegade doctor in Beyond Borders. Drag Queen Charles Busch stumbles upon several murder conspiracies in her household in Die Mommie Die. Lost in a snow storm, Alex McArthur is taken in by two sisters who are psychotic cannibals in Suspended Animation.

NOVEMBER
Criminals Bernie Mac and Billy Bob Thornton disguise themselves as Santa Claus in Bad Santa. Raised by elves, Will Ferrell decides to seek his natural parents in Elf. Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are searching for the mysterious blue diamond in Looney Tunes Back in Action. Russell Crowe is a ship’s Captain during the Napoleonic Wars in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Three archaeological students go back in time to rescue their professor in Timeline. Tupac: Resurrection, a documentary based upon the life of the late Tupac Shakur.

DECEMBER
Nick Cannon pays a popular girl to pose as his girlfriend in Love Don’t Cost A Thing. Steven Martin and Bonnie Hunt are parents of 12 kids in Cheaper By The Dozen. Jude Law is a wounded confederate soldier trying to get home in Cold Mountain. Adam Goldberg is the "superhero detective" in The Hebrew Hammer. James Caviezel hits the road searching for his wife’s killer in Highwaymen. Julia Roberts is a hip art history teacher at a stuffy college in Mona Lisa Smile. Ben Affleck is a brilliant computer engineer who has his memory erased in Paycheck. Jack Nicholson is an executive who dates younger women until he meets Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give.

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